Start With “NO”
Saying “yes” to everything means you’re not conscious about your life.
In-flight safety demonstrations say: “Secure your own mask first before helping others.” This should be your number one rule if you want to achieve your goals and commitments. You can make your spouse happy if you are happy; you can teach your children to be healthy if you are healthy; and you can help anyone if you have energy inside you.
But if you say “yes” to everything and everybody, you definitely will not have room for the things that matter the most. You should admit to yourself that there’s a limit to how much you can do in a day. You have limits. By saying “no,” you have a wonderful opportunity to clear space to do meaningful things.
Don’t overestimate the cost of saying “no.” You can feel uncomfortable, but in reality it’s not such a big deal. People accept your “no” even if they are disappointed or surprised by your response.
As a nice bonus, you’ll get increased productivity. You will not face things that stress you out or overwhelm you. Anyway, why should you consider your needs less important than someone else’s?
Saying “no” to your nearest and dearest won’t be painful. You surely don’t want to hurt people you love and care about. But remember: You can make them happy if you are happy. When you decline — in other words, when you tell them “no” — just give them an explanation of your decision (but don’t over-excuse yourself). Give them the rules of the game.
It is extremely important to be able to make negative assertions. We must be able to say what is ‘not me’ in order to have a ‘me’. What we like has no meaning unless we know what we don’t like. Our yes has no meaning if we never say no. My chosen profession has no passion if ‘just anyone would do’. Our opinions and thoughts mean very little if there is nothing we disagree with.― Henry Cloud, Changes That Heal